Friday, January 25, 2008

Two Leaders, Two Friends Moving On

Thank You Matt Foreman and Keith Jennings

The LGB and T community this week is facing the loss of two key
leaders for equality, Matt Foreman of the National Gay and Lesbian
Task Force and Keith Jennings, founder of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight
Education Network (GLSEN) - both of whom announced their
resignations from their positions effective later this year.

In five years as the Executive Director of the Task Force, Foreman has
directed unprecedented growth for the organization, both in terms of
financial ability and in national esteem. The Task Force has done much,
through the Creating Change program, to empower and energize
advocates and activists on the local, regional and national levels. I'll also
include the fact that despite the name - which they are slowly morphing
into simply The Task Force - Foreman did understand and accept the T.
His was probably the most valued voice in opposition (quickly and firmly
expressed) to the Frank/HRC Dump The Trannies ENDA effort this fall.
Foreman will continue to work on behalf of the community as the head of
the Haas, Jr. Foundation, which according to the Task Forces' press
release provides more financial support to the community that is the
largest "non-gay" identified foundation in the nation. He will end his
time with the Task Force in April.

Jennings not only is the Executive Director of GLSEN, but also it's
founding spirit. GLSEN has done an outstanding job developing - and
fighting for - high school and college students to organize support clubs
at their educational institutions. Gay/Straight Alliances (GSA's)
continue to grow on campuses throughout the nation, despite frequently
encountering hostile administrators and/or parents. By law, GSA's
(which sometimes are forced to adopt non-identifiable titles) are
permitted at any school that accepts federal funds - which covers all
public schools and many private ones. Today there are over 3,700 such
clubs which help foster a more secure and safe atmosphere in which
LGB and T identified students may study and succeed. I think one of
the saddest statistics I've ever seen comes from the annual GLSEN
survey that said more than one in four LGB and T identified students
will skip school in the next month because they don't feel Safe from
physical harm. Jennings will end his service in August, he is not
specific about his future plans.

Both deserve our sincere gratitude for their outstanding work.
Both understand LGB AND T.

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